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“Loki” #1

By | June 8th, 2023
Posted in Reviews | % Comments

When you set aside the chaotic evil and embrace the mischief, Loki is certainly one of the more fun characters to follow. He’s a character that has helmed plenty of solo series’ exploring the ability to change and fight your destiny, sometimes working for redemption from his family, sometimes as the ends of his means. In any case, time and again, it’s been proven that Loki has the stuff to helm his series. So what happens when the lord of stories, the god of chaos, has to deal with something of his creation that has seemingly taken on a life of its own? In “Loki” #1, Dan Watters and German Peralta take on a new angle of Loki’s chaos, which he cannot control.

Cover by Dustin Nguyen
Written by Dan Watters
Illustrated by German Peralta
Colored by Mike Spicer
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham

OKI SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE? He may be the “benevolent” God of Stories now, but Loki’s past as the God of Lies returns to haunt him when ancient, powerful weapons he once built end up scattered across the Ten Realms! Loki must track down these weapons before they fall into the wrong hands and bring about Ragnarok! Surprising guest stars, exciting new characters and startling twists await in this all-new miniseries by rising stars Dan Watters (Sword of Azrael) and Germán Peralta (BLACK PANTHER)!

From the first panel, you can tell that Watters is telling a different kind of Loki story. There’s just something about the narration that feels off. It’s ominous and moody, not uncommon for a comic set in the Norse corner of the Marvel Universe. Still, something about the description of death and Loki’s ship feels familiar, almost personal. Usually, these mythic narrators have a degree of distance from the subject, a veil between the story and the truth that the comic will explore. But the biggest twist of “Loki” #1 is that the narrator isn’t some random storyteller sitting in the mead hall with friends and family and reciting stories of old. No, this narrator is a little more involved in the story; the narrator is the cursed souls of Loki’s warship. In a way, Naglfar is the protagonist of the issue, giving the reader insight into their pain, power, and seemingly plan. It rocks the status quo simply by making Loki react to one of his schemes instead of orchestrating the mischief.

Thor and Loki are certainly characters in “Loki” #1, and Dan Watters does an admirable job of capturing their seemingly good-natured antagonism. Thor comes off as a stoic stick in the mud, while Loki feels footloose and fancy-free, reveling in his role as king and master of chaos. In fact, from the first few pages, there’s almost some fear that this isn’t going to continue the more or less lighthearted tone that many of Loki’s recent solo outings have had. But as soon as we see the actual trickster and not the warped version that Naglfar remembers, the tone quickly shifts to more fun. Loki is teaching the frost giants to read, for Odin’s sake! What’s not to like about that? It might not be the best example of Loki as a solo character, but it’s a lot of fun.

While the story and dialogue are solid enough, the art and colors of “Loki” #1 are magnificent. German Peralta and Mike Spicer do an incredible job of making each realm feel unique, giving you a solid footing about where you are in the mythologically cosmic universe. This is especially true of the purple tone used as Glut and Rut careens into the world tree. It’s an incredibly dynamic set of pages and ramps up the tension as the nefarious narration gleefully describes the difficulty of controlling such an unruly ship. But this is just one example. The blue and grey tones used on Jotunheim perfectly contrast the green of Loki’s outfit and the bottle that stores the pieces of Naglfar. They define Asgard with dark earthen tones, which is not odd when you consider that we are in the bowels of the golden realm. Even Midgard looks unique with its sun-washed colors of a coastal Florida town.

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Similarly, Peralta can capture Thor and Loki’s expressions and body language. Like Watters dialogue, Peralta does an admiral job of making Thor incredibly one note (appropriate when dealing with his mischievous sibling.) Loki, on the other hand, always has a feeling of momentum. He’s never in the same posture twice. Something about Loki’s constantly changing posture makes him feel squirrely and untrustworthy, simply as he tries to figure out how to solve his problems. Yet, while this is all good, one final element takes “Loki” #1 from solid to special; how Peralta and Spicer showcase the narrator’s influence.

The opening and closing of “Loki” #1 are very dark, embracing the dim light and shadows of the mead hall and the forge of the dwarven realm. But in both cases, it serves as a shorthand for exploring the corrupting power of Naglfar. As the issue unfolds, the narration shifts from sympathetic to nefarious to downright hostile. Over the course of the pages of the premier issue, we learn the true threat of Naglfar. It’s nothing to do with Loki, at least not directly. Instead, it turns out that centuries of being a doomed soul bound with other doomed souls makes you dangerous and ready for vengeance. So be it if that means making promises to dwarven smiths or humans. But this is a tool not designed to help Loki, but at this point, to help itself. In both cases, the corrupting power of the Naglfar is shown by dark red backgrounds, showing that Loki isn’t the threat; it’s the creation that you should fear. It’s a solid premise for a Loki adventure and one that leaves you wanting more.

Final Judgement: 8.5 Thanks to some impressive art and intriguing narration, “Loki” #1 sets the stage for another adventure of everyone’s favorite trickster.

Joe Skonce

Joe Skonce was born, raised, and currently resides in Ohio, but has been exploring fantastical and imaginary worlds for as long as he can remember. He loves big guys and barbarians, pirates and puppets, and is always down to find nerdy new things. Come say hi to him on twitter @tunabellgrande.